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John M. DeLong, Robert K. Prange, Conny Bishop, Peter A. Harrison, and Daniel A.J. Ryan

To determine if postharvest treatments of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) retard the senescence of highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) removed from storage, `Burlington' (early) and `Coville' (late) fruit were harvested from four experimental sites and treated for 24 hours at 20 °C with 0 (control), 25 (low), 100 (medium), or 400 (high) nL·L-1 of 1-MCP. All fruit were then stored in a controlled atmosphere of 10-15 kPa O2 and 10 kPa CO2 at -1 to 1 °C for 4, 8, and 12 weeks, followed by a 20 °C shelf-life of up to 20 days. During the shelf-life period immediately after harvest and those following each storage removal, percent marketable fruit (PMF) were calculated daily as: [fruit in good condition]/[total berry number] × 100. Changes in PMF were not affected by 1-MCP treatment; hence, we conclude that 1-MCP at rates up to 400 nL·L-1 does not alter the shelf-life quality of the highbush blueberry cultivars tested.

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Andrew K. Koeser, J. Ryan Stewart, Germán A. Bollero, Donald G. Bullock, and Daniel K. Struve

Transplanted trees are exposed to numerous stresses from the time of harvest until establishment in the landscape. Although an individual stress factor may be the sole cause of plant death or decline, it is more likely a combination of stress factors cause reduced growth or death after planting. In an effort to isolate the stresses associated with three critical stages in the transplanting process (i.e., initial harvest, handling, and transport), 5-cm-caliper, balled-and-burlapped Acer rubrum L. ‘Red Sunset’ (red maple) and Acer platanoides L. ‘Pond’ (Norway maple) trees at three sites (Urbana, IL; Union, IL; and Manitowoc, WI) were subjected to three treatments: root-pruned, handled, and transported. Effects of water stress, root severance, and root-ball disruption on twig elongation and tree survival were measured for each treatment and compared with unaltered control trees. Twig elongation was greater in unaltered control trees when compared with root-pruned trees. In addition, root-pruned trees exhibited greater twig elongation when compared with either handled or transported trees suggesting that although initial root severance did affect growth, it was not as detrimental as lifting and handling. In addition, twig elongation was not different between handled and transported trees. Water potential measurements ranged from –0.2 to –2.0 MPa, suggesting water stress was not a critical factor during the time of transplanting. Similarly, root-ball soil moisture varied little between treatments over the course of transplanting. Results suggest rough handling before and after transport should be minimized in an effort to maximize growth and transplant success.

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Wilhelmina Kalt, Christopher Lawand, Daniel A.J. Ryan, Jane E. McDonald, Horst Donner, and Charles F. Forney

The antioxidant properties of blueberries have been examined only in ripe fruit, although fruit of different maturities are used in processed food products. In this study, highbush blueberry cultivars Bergitta, Bluegold, and Nelson highbush blueberry fruit at different stages of ripeness were examined to characterize differences in oxygen radical absorbing capacity (ORAC) and the phenolic components responsible for ORAC. Underripe fruit at different stages of maturity were also stored at 20 °C for up to 8 days to assess changes in ORAC and phenolic content. Anthocyanin content was substantially higher in fruit of more advanced stages of ripeness. In contrast, the phenolic content and ORAC were lower in the riper fruit. Anthocyanins continued to form during storage, although rate of pigment formation declined after about 4 days. Less anthocyanin pigment was formed in the less ripe fruit. After 8 days of storage, the anthocyanin content of fruit harvested 5% to 50% or 50% to 95% blue exceeded that of ripe fruit. Up to 60% of the total phenolic content could be accounted for by anthocyanins. ORAC was positively correlated with total phenolic content (R 2 = 0.78), but not with anthocyanin content.